People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 01

January 03, 2010


Protest against Police Highhandedness and Brutality

Albeena Shakil

 THE CITU, JMS and DYFI held a joint protest demonstration at the Samaypur Badli Police Station on the December 26 expressing their anger and demanding immediate action against the lumpenism of police officers. They demanded immediate action against SHO Sanjeev Parmar, Additional SHO H R Malik and Constable Naveen. The gathering was addressed by JMS state secretary, Sehba Farooqui, CITU state secretary, Mohan Lal and DYFI state secretary, Puran Chand, who warned that if disciplinary action was not taken against the errant officers without delay, they would build an agitation against the police. Over 300 activists and local people gathered at the police station to lodge their protest. The demonstration was held in the wake of an outrageous and shameful incident that occurred on the December 23.

At about 4 pm on December 23, some officers of the MCD along with the Samaypur Badli PS police force were demolishing road side shops and removing street vendors from the Mukarba Chowk. A CPI(M) team comprising of four people namely, Asha Sharma, Siddheshwar Shukla, Roopa and Vipin who were collecting funds nearby, intervened in view of continuous announcements by the Delhi government and the MCD that no street vendors will be removed for the time being. A CITU delegation was also assured by the Lt Governor of Delhi a week back that street vendors will not be removed from the roads of Delhi for the time being. Upon enquiry, the MCD officer could not produce any demolition orders, and the MCD-police team started retreating.

The crowd of over 800 people also started dispersing and was reduced to about 150. At this instance, a drunkard in the crowd started hurling abuses at the police. Around 10-12 policemen started disproportionately beating up the drunkard. Siddheshwar Shukla, state committee member of the CPI(M) intervened on humanitarian grounds, but the police in turn started beating him as well. Additional SHO H R  Malik deliberately targeted and pushed Asha Sharma (state committee member and secretary of North local committee) down and along with his team of constables started beating her up mercilessly. The two were dragged to the centre of the Chowk and beaten up severely. The other two members of the team, who are local committee members, were also beaten up. It is outrageous that Asha Sharma was beaten up by male police in her private parts and was especially targeted by constable Navin. She has suffered injuries in her thighs, wherein her tissue has ruptured. This entire operation was undertaken at the orders of SHO Sanjeev Parmar, who supervised this action. The four members of the team were detained by the police for several hours and their mobile phones were snatched away.

A delegation comprising the CPI(M) Delhi state secretary, CITU Delhi state general secretary, CITU president and AIDWA state office bearers immediately met the ACP North West the same evening. His response was not only disappointing but smacked of complete arrogance and insensitivity in view of the obvious problems in the police version. The police claimed that the team members got injured when they fell down in the general mayhem and confusion in the area, and not due to police action. However, they could not explain as to why no one else was detained from the crowd by the police. 

It is one thing for political activists to receive injuries during general lathi charges and police action on protests. However, in a situation where no lathi charge is ordered, and four CPI(M) activists are singled out from a crowd and beaten up severely, it is unacceptable. The fact that a woman leader was beaten up by male policemen is also not only unacceptable, but merits disciplinary action. It is significant that  all the team members are well known in the area due to continuous actions against price rise and for workers rights. On the 23rd they were on a general fund collection drive and did not have any organised mobilisation with them. It is clear that the police utilised the opportunity to assault them and publicly humiliate them, without any provocation.

A delegation led by Rajya Sabha MP and Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat and Delhi CPI(M) state secretary Pushpender Grewal met the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, the next day on December 24. The delegation was assured that an enquiry would be instituted and action taken within a week.